Common Paper Weights: LB To GSM Conversions

We often say that there’s no border of knowledge in the world, but the carrier of knowledge –paper is different. When we need to custom printing a hardcover book, a booklet that promotes the company or a personalized poster to a foreign company, we’re going to have a problem, I use “LB” to describe paper, but the other uses “GSM”. How should we convert paper weights?

Before answering this question, we need to know what is “LB” and “GSM” first.

In China, the paper quantitation is called “gram weight”, it commonly uses GSM to represent, meaning the grams per square meter of paper. But the United States and the United Kingdom adopt the British system and weigh paper in pound (LB), it means the pounds per piece of paper.

Paper Weights

And here comes some formulas to be used,

  • one ream paper = 500 piece paper
  • one inch = 2.54cm
  • one pound = 453.6g
  • one GSM= the weight of one square meter paper
  • one LB= the weight of one ream paper = the weight of 500 pieces paper

Now we give an example with text paper. This paper is 25*38 inch. It is 25*0.0254*38*0.0254=0.6129 m2,so the size of 500 pieces paper is 500*0.6129 = 304.65m2.

We assume that the weight of this paper is 1g per square meters. Then 500 pieces are 304.65g, it is also 304.65/453.6 = 0.676 pounds. So for 25*38 inch text paper, 1 GSM = 0.676 LB

Make a conclusion, LB = GSM*length(m) * width(m) * 500 / 453.6

Is it a lot simpler? But it’s not over yet. From the above formula, we can see that the factor of the two units is related to the size of paper, but the size of paper is various in the world, so the number of the conversion is also different. Next, I will focus on three kinds of common American paper.

  • Writing papers


Paper Weights

Writing papers are generally used for letterhead and communication systems, but can also be used for advertising flyers printing, reports printing or any other project where a lightweight paper is appropriate. The size of this paper is 17 *22 inch.

  • Text papers


Paper Weights

Text papers are classified into offset paper or coated paper in China, it is typically used for the inside pages of books printing, brochures printing, and catalogue printing. The weight of text papers also lends itself to advertising flyers printing as well as letterhead and communication systems. The size of this paper is 25*38 inch.

  • Cover papers

Paper Weights

Cover papers are also called C1S papers. It is heavier than text sheets and is generally used for the covers of hardcover books printing and folders printing where extra bulk and protection are needed. Other cover paper uses include calendars printing, menus printing, invitations and thanks cards printing.  The size of this paper is 20*36 inch.

The sizes of these three kinds of paper are different, so the factor of their LB and GSM are different. Is it a bit confusing? Don’t worry, I list a form for you.

Writing paper   Text paper   Cover paper
Factor = 3.760 Factor = 1.480 Factor = 1.480
16 60 45 67 40 108
17 64 50 74 50 135
20 75 60 89 60 162
24 90 70 104 65 176
28 105 80 118 80 216
31 117 90 133 90 250
32 120 100 148 100 270
36 135 120 178 105 284

Do you have any question about the paper? Please contact us right now.

by Linda QINPrinting

To Know More About Us

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.